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One of my favorite parts of visiting the Serena Belly Dance Museum was seeing all of her old albums. Take a look and listen to the belly beats playlist! Enjoy!

 

 

 

There are still several albums that I can’t find recordings of online, but you can order the vinyl if it interests you.

Here are some of the albums that were not on Spotify, but are on itunes.

The Greek Way – Gus Vali: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-greek-way/id979494971

Festive Dance Music From The Middle East – Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak & Hakki Obadia Orchestra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/festive-dance-music-from-middle/id1004020686

Exotic Belly Dancers – Middle Eastern Ensemble: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/exotic-belly-dances-classics/id268865865

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys! I decided to make a list of the workshops I wish I could take from different studios across the country. Hope you find it useful!

NYC

Aszmara’s Master Class: Drum Solo Imrpovisation with Live Drums

INSTRUCTOR: Aszmara

WHEN: February 7th/ 1:30-4:30 PM

WHERE: Anahid Sofian Studios 29 West 15th Street

COST: $55 pre-paid by Feb 1rst – $60 at the Door

 

The Dalia Carella Dance Collective Presents: Dance Elements Intensive Mastering Critical Dance Skills, from Fundamentals to Performance

INSTRUCTOR: Dalia Carella, Ramzi El-Edlibi and Diane Hutchinson

WHEN: February 7th /11-12PM, 12-2PM, 3-5PM

WHERE:Nola Studios, 250 W. 54th Street, 10th Floor, Studio 1

COST: All Three Workshops – $135 preregistration, $155 at door $20 Savings!

 

WASHINGTON D.C.

Hula Hoop Dance

INSTRUCTOR:  Debora Jackson

WHEN: February 6th/1:30-3:30PM

WHERE: Sahara Dance: 4433 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

COST: $35

 

Cabaret-Dabke Fusion

INSTRUCTOR: Omoladun

WHEN: February 20th/1:30-3:30PM

WHERE: Sahara Dance: 4433 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

COST: $35

 

MIAMI

Passport to Africa with Kukuwa

INSTRUCTOR: Kukuwa

WHEN: February 13th/2:30-4:30PM

WHERE: Belly Motions Studio 8235 South Dixie Highway

COST: $30 in advance/ $40 day of

 

Belly Dance Stage Makeup 101 Workshop with Siufer!

INSTRUCTOR: Siufer

WHEN: February 27th/2:30-5:30PM

WHERE: Belly Motions Studio 8235 South Dixie Highway

COST: $55 in advance/ $60 day of

 

CHICAGO

How to Turn Your Audience into Friends (and Minions) with Dawn

INSTRUCTOR: Dawn Xiana Moon

WHEN: February 7th/2:30-4:30PM

WHERE: Arabesque Studio 3120 W. Belmont

COST: $35 in advance/ $40 at the door

 

BOULDER

Lebanese Cane (presented by Sadie)

INSTRUCTOR: Simon Sarkis

WHEN: February 27th/11-12:30PM

WHERE: Kinesi Studio 5603 Arapahoe Rd. Unit 6

COST: $45

 

 

Hey everyone,

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

I didn’t do much, but I did watch an episode of Mickela Mallozzi’s show Bare Feet, which I just recently learned about –  where have I been??????

If you haven’t seen her show, you need to! Mickela is a dancer who travels around the world learning about the dance, music, and culture of each place she visits ( Best.Job.Ever). There is so much inspiration in each episode, I highly recommend watching! 

So why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you because she did an episode in Turkey and it is beautiful. She see’s Sufi dancers, discusses Turkish music with an expert and is taught belly dance and traditional Turkish dance.

 

*(Click on the screenshot to go right to the video!)

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.38.31 PM

 

 

 

The Rundown

1:50 The sufi dancers come in right at the beginning of the show

6:33 Mickela discusses music with Bora Ozkok: music historian, musician (find some of his cd’s here), folk dancer, Cappadocia Cave Suites owner. He shows Mickela how he plays the spoons, what he calls, “the original grandmother of the castanets.” This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about playing spoons – remember Sugar Mary Vartanian?!? 😉 Bora also teaches Mickela Turkish rhythms and she gets a chance at the spoons – which she plays incredibly well by the way. While I was watching this I had a flash back to the first time my teacher said I had to dance and play zills at the same time….lol…anyway…

12:52 Mickela learns belly dance from beautiful self taught dancer Ydm and does a great job.

Directly following this segment…

16:19 Ydm and traditional Turkish dancers perform.

24:59 Romani music and dance

 

Hope you enjoy!

For more info on Mickela and her show visit her website 🙂

 

 

 

 

So Here’s the Deal:

There’s not much out there on Boubouka. She is a Greek belly dancer who became well known in the 50’s and 60’s. She made appearances in several movies during that time. In 1956 at the age of 18, she moved to NY with her parents to pursue her dance dreams. And that’s it – that’s all I know!

If you guys know more, please share!

This is why I think she is so interesting:

Boubouka didn’t miss a single musical cue, she picked up on everything and translated the music into beautiful intricate movements or slow sinewy undulations . She was very uninhibited but somehow balanced her more aggressive movements with grace. What do you think?

xoxo

N

p.s. Happy New Year!!!!!!!

 

Music and dancing starts at 2:19 (in below video)

 

Videos were found on youtube.com. They are not my original content.

 

 

 

Hey Guys! So I’m late to the game with this one – but tomorrow  Ahmed Hussien is having a workshop in NYC  –   FACEBOOK PAGE !!!!!

ALSO his 3rd annual Spring Immersion is coming up in March! If you want to take class with a fantastic teacher and hang out in Southern California (like I do btw) then you should definitely mark your calendar!

Want to learn more about Ahmed? Read this short interview he did with The Belly Blog! 🙂

TBB: Being that you started dancing so young, what is your first dance memory?

AH: My first memory is dancing on the old Opera House in Cairo Egypt that was built in 1886. And I danced as the only child in the Don Juan ballet representing the Cairo National Ballet.

TBB: When did you know that dance was something you wanted to pursue as a career?

AH: Being that young, you don’t make a decision. I started the academy when I was 8 years old.  So it’s not a decision that I made but was a decision was put in front of me. I was guided and encouraged by an older cousin. He saw something in me. He noticed that I was very talented and active. He suggested that I needed to be placed in a program with either in music or dance, something. So I went and applied to the Higher Institute of Ballet and was accepted.

TBB: How has your ballet background influenced your classical oriental style? From where else do you draw inspiration?

AH: All formal dances relates to each other. And they all also have the basic form from ballet. It gives you grace, lines, flexibility and provides you with musical interpretation. Grace is the most important quality that ballet training can provide dancers. Music gives me the inspiration. There is nothing to draw inspiration from without the music.

TBB: What is the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome as a dancer? How did you grow from it?

AH: Maybe not finding the right music, the right venue, the right stage, poor lighting and/or sound. You learn by adapting to different situations. The show must go on. I came from Egypt and I adapted to life in the US. Adaptation is what you do in dance.

TBB: What has been your favorite moment in your dance career?

AH: Being on Broadway. I learned a lot about how things work. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity  to experience the processes of auditioning, planning, creating choreography, costuming. It’s amazing to see your final work on stage.

TBB: What is your favorite song right now?

I don’t have a favorite song. There is so many pieces of beautiful music and I like them all. I feel like it’s not fair to select one over the other.

 

Fair enough Ahmed! 

 

Learn more about this great dancer on his website!

 

 

On March 20th I went to see the incomparable Sadie bust a move at Drom in NYC. The show was presented by Nourhan Sharif and included a talented roster of dancers including Samantha Diaz and Tandava, a great dancer who produces a show called Blood on the Veil.

Every dancer was incredible. I was especially excited to see Sadie dance in real life and she did not disappoint. Her drum solos are killer! After the show I was able to take a quick pic and I just have to say that not only is she incredibly talented, but she’s so sweet and humble 🙂 Definitely check out her website for upcoming events, online classes and dvds!

 

Okay so before we get started on Hoda, let me just tell you the back story about this post. I came across Hoda’s name a while ago and wrote it down on my list of posts to do. Yesterday, I picked her name at random and began to do some research, only to find there was nothing out there about her. This intrigued me more, so I searched through all kinds of sites – saw some things that I can’t un-see, lol, and finally came upon another blog that mentioned her name. The awesome/very informative blog is called unmundodeluz and it’s run by dancer, Giselle Habibi, who is a Mexican journalist, translator, belly dancer, and total sweetheart. The site was in spanish, but thanks to the interwebs I translated the page and my curiosity was heightened even more. Giselle wrote that Hoda was known for having clairvoyant dreams and that other dancers were superstitious and scared of her. I looked at the bottom of Giselle’s post and found that this information had come from a book entitled, “El Reinado de las Bailarinas” by Shokry Mohamed. So, I started trying to find the book. It doesn’t exist in America – obviously (*pulling out hair!*). I found out it was published in Madrid and I began searching for the title in Madrid library databases -Resultados de la búsqueda…0000. I looked for a bibliography so I could find out where Mohamed got his info – nada. Then I thought – why not just email Giselle? So that’s what I did, and literally minutes later I had a response and images of the section from the book about Hoda AND photos! I was so excited and it really reminded me of how tight knit our community is and how it and extends far beyond national borders  – so thank you, thank you, thank you Giselle for making this post possible! <3

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Hoda Shams El Din was one of the many amazing golden era dancers that performed at Badia Masabni‘s Casino Opera Club.

She was born in Damascus Syria in 1930, of Armenian parents (have not been able to confirm this). At an unknown time Hoda moved to Cairo, where her belly dance career began. She was an active dancer from about 1945-1965 and during that time was also featured in several films.

Okay so I know this party was over a month ago, but  it was so much fun, I just had to write a bit about it.

First of all Anahid Sofian is a legend and if you’re ever in NYC you really need to take class with her! (Anahid’s info.)

She also happens to throw a great party. The incredible, dynamic, passionate (and a million other adjectives) Aszmara was the special guest artist and she literally blew my mind as usual. In addition there were several AMAZING dancers including Najma, Teodora, Uza Mitra, and  Zobeida (interview with Zobeida coming soon!).

Of course all of this was topped off with great live music. Nabil Bekkali played the keyboard and Richard Khuzami was on drums – he’s awesome by the way and a great teacher 🙂

Anahid ended the night with some Armenian line dancing which was great – just a fun night all around 🙂

Hopefully more fun events to come!

Enjoy your Friday!

xo

N

A HUGE thank you to the lovely yoga instructor and belly dancer Krystle Hope! Her class on back bending is AMAZING. A great back bend can take your performance to another level *imo*, but it’s easy to do it wrong – as I’ve learned the hard way haha. Krystle gives perfect instruction to help you increase spine flexibility and core strength to execute the perfect back bend!

 

First a bit about Krystle:

“Krystle Hope is a belly dancer, certified yoga instructor, and dedicated practitioner committed to promoting empowerment through achieving mind-body-spirit wellness. Passionate about health and wellness, Krystle has received her Life Coach and Holistic Nutrition Specialist certifications through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona, and offers Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching as a member of the International Association of Health Coaches. Krystle is also a certified Hypnotherapist and utilizes her mind over matter technique to facilitate long-lasting lifestyle changes. Join Krystle on a journey to wellness and create change in your life.”

For more information about Krystle Hope and Serenity Haven, visit www.SerenityHavenStudio.com.

Thanks again Krystle!!! <3

 

my own interpretation

my own interpretation

 

SO, WHEN AND WHERE DID BELLY DANCE ORIGINATE? This is a question that comes up quite frequently in our community. There are several different theories/origin myths.  I am going to compile the ideas I have found on credible websites and books and for the next 5 weeks I will post 1 theory a week and you guys can decide for yourselves what you think!

Theories:

1. Descended from religious/ceremonial dance  – goddess worship

2. Came from fertility rituals and associated with childbirth

3. Derived from Ancient Egyptian social dances

4. Brought to the ME by gypsies from India.

5. Was born out of a dance of seduction

 

BEFORE WE GET STARTED

1.Disclaimer: *I am NOT an expert.*

2. When I was doing research, I came across a very popular paper by Andrea Deagon, “In Search of the Origins of Dance,” and I want to share this excerpt with you guys because I think this is important to keep in the back of your head as you do your own research/read TBB:

“When we are moved by something that is beautiful, or terrible, or vitally important to our souls, it is human nature to try to understand it.  One of the ways we look for this meaning is to try to find or imagine its origins.  We sense that, if we can find its ultimate beginning, perhaps we will also find its deepest truth — a truth that will open up the wellspring of our own creative power.  Our search for origins has inspired some of our most brilliant insights.  It inspires us to trace our genealogies, explore the intricacies of cell biology or evolution, and seek the ultimate source of all matter in the depths of space-time.  It inspires our philosophy and religion, from the Navajo stories of Changing Woman to the seven days of Yahweh’s creation to the presocratic philosophers’ exploration of the elements of earth, air, water and fire.  The search for the origins of what we hold to be precious and magnificent is fundamental to our way of understanding the world.  So it is natural that those of us who treasure Middle Eastern dance and want to understand it more fully should seek out its origins.”

And this:

“…We tend to use the past as a justification for present views or practices — we want to see our own ideas and practices as correct and natural, so we are easily distracted from the wide, confusing perspective of real history and slip into historical myths.  Only when we have come to terms with these tendencies in our thinking will we be able to explore the history of this dance, and form an accurate, respectful relationship with the women and men of the past whose dance was the precursor of our own.”

~~~ IDEA #1: GODDESS WORSHIP ~~~

” The first dances were an essential part of worship through which human beings felt they were able to establish their relationship with divinity and a unification of the earth with a higher, spiritual world.” ~Tina Hobin (Belly Dance: The Dance of Mother Earth – buy it here! it’s so interesting! )

Some of the earliest identifiable depictions of dance can be seen in the Chauvet cave paintings in France. They have been traced as far back as 15,000 years – ~13,000 bce. Just for some context that is when people first began domesticating animals and the wooly rhinoceros became extinct.

wooly rhino  r.i.p 🙁

Further evidence of the significance of dance in early civilization can be found in the Bhimbetka rock shelters in India where there are images of men and women dancing with a drummer (some say from approx. the same time period as the Chauvet cave paintings, some say they’re older).

 Bhimbetka Shelter dancers

In later years, and by later I mean 1450 bce (3,465 years ago) images of a dancing goddess can be seen in this Mycenaean ring (and others like it) from the Tholos tomb of Vapheio.

Mycenaean ring from Tholos Tomb of Vapheio 1450 bce

So it’s pretty clear that dance was an important part of our ancestors social lives and ceremonies. Historians have speculated that the movements used in ritual/god/goddess worship dances came from the dancers observations of their surroundings: nature, animals, birds – they imitated their movements, mating rituals etc. The dances were performed for all occasions – birth and death,  planting and harvesting, war, rain sun, and moon worship.

Dances were done in circles representing the movement of the moon and sun, in spirals representing death and re- birth and in lines.

Dance became an integral part of shamanic practices, magical and religious cults. They were performed at funerals as seen in the image below from the tomb of Nebamun. Goddesses associated with funeral rites are Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Serket.

nebamun_dancers

Musicians and Dancers from the tomb of Nebamun 1400 BCE – 1350 BCE Thebes, Egypt

Dances were also done as hunting rituals – there were several hunting goddesses: Cybele, Artemis, Hathor, and Isis.

This is “Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük c. 6,000 BCE. She is an Anatolian mother goddess who it is possible Cybele derived from. She is giving birth on her throne.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele

Worshiping the gods through dance was not just part of the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras. In Ancient Egypt  there is evidence in graves of the cult of the mother goddess – Neith/Nit (which we will talk more about next week). Evidence of dance in general has been found in many paintings/heiroglyphs in Egypt and could be linked to goddess worship.

So is it possible that the belly dance we know today is based in goddess worship?

In my opinion – Absolutely! Why not?

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